Three cheap ways to fill your walls

Living in a rental property it can be quite hard to make the place your own. With age and various outgoings, investing in art isn’t top of the priority list. But I’ve found a few cheap ways to lift my living space above floor level.

For all of these pieces I’ve used the Ikea Ribba picture frames. I love their simplicity and they are very affordable at only £6 each.

In addition to these, I also love checking charity shops and making the effort to print off photographs.

Wallpaper samples

My favourite ‘trick’ has to be using wallpaper samples. Back when I didn’t have fun financial outgoings such as council tax and a sewerage bill to worry about, I bought a few cushions from the floral patterned wonder that is Bluebellgray. Their vibrant watercolour patterns are also available as wallpaper for which you can purchase sample pages for only £2. I ordered five samples, gave them a bit of a trim and stuck them into frames. The result adds pops of colour to a very white room and ties in with the beautiful cushions of my expendable cash rich youth.


Get your sketch book out

I first tried life drawing back at uni. Explaining life drawing to the unknowing folk is always a funny and interesting conversation. Yes, I sit in a busy room for 2 hours drawing a naked person. But I always follow up with the fact that after the first couple of minutes, you are so focused on recreating the pose on paper that you forget you can see absolutely everything of a total stranger.

I have quite a few sketches from various classes over the years but I found these three came together in a nice set of images. I’m proud of these drawings, they look like real people (if you ignore the hands and lack of faces), and its nice to put them on the wall instead of keeping them in a drawer for the rest of eternity. Plus they always get people talking.


Postcards & prints

My third and final favourite is using postcards or small art prints. The one below is Lily Lily Rose by John Singer Sergeant which I have framed in my living room. I saw this painting at the Tate Britain a few years back where a member of the museum told the story of the piece. I love the colours and dusky feel to it.

The Tate website has a variety of prints for sale and most aren’t ridiculously expensive, coming in a range of sizes too. Another thing I always look out for is postcard prints which don’t tend to cost more than a couple of pounds at most. In my bedroom at my parents’ house, I made a mini gallery wall using glass frames and filled them with photographs, cards I’d received and a couple of art postcards. Adding in the postcards can even out the busyness of photographs and tie together the colours of each piece.


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